Board begins Curtis' evaluation

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Two school board committee meetings failed to attract a quorum last week, and the discussion of important business was postponed to later dates.

The director's evaluation committee chairman, Ann Tears, and one member, Curt Denton, looked over the form that board members will use to evaluate Dr. Stan Curtis' first year in charge of the school system.

They agreed that the form will be mailed out to all nine board members in June, who will be expected to complete it and mail it back in time for the committee to tally the results, review them with Curtis, and report to the full board at the July meeting.

The evaluation form has five sections, one each for relationship with the school board (maximum 15 points), relationship with the community (10), educational leadership (25), strategic planning skills (25), and business and finance (25). Thus the best possible score is 100, representing "excellent" performance in every category.

Due to the fact that there are a different number of questions in each section, and the rating scale is different for each section, the minimum score is not zero, but 19.5.

When Tears and Denton were asked what a failing score would be, the chairwoman said,

"We'd have to cross that bridge when we come to it," and Denton admitted, "We've talked about it but come to no conclusion."

Board members will fill out the evaluation anonymously, and there will be a space to add additional comments on Curtis' performance if desired.

Tears said she and her committee used a partial outline from the Tennessee School Boards Association plus input from other board members to create the evaluation form.

Part of the director's rating is based on improving test scores, but access to this year's scores is not a problem, since both ACT and Gateway results are already available.

The director's evaluation committee tentatively scheduled another meeting for 5 p.m. Thursday, June 4.

The budget committee's chairman Kristen Gold and member Dee Dee Owens met with Curtis and budget director Janet Wiles.

"I can give you some information," Curtis said. "I have spoken to the athletic directors, and they are getting together a committee of coaches, A.D.s, and club sponsors to discuss the supplements."

"What does any of that mean for our budget?" asked Gold.

"No question it could affect the budget," Curtis answered. "We're trying to keep supplements the same for next year, but we haven't agreed on that yet. I would hate to rush it. The negotiating team is going to talk and make a recommendation to the Marshall County Education Association at the next meeting" (June 12).

Curtis also told Gold and Owens that he had just received an e-mail from the state announcing that funding for coordinated school health, connectivity, and extended contract would all be cut for next year. Only the day before, he had heard coordinated school health would be fully funded.

"It really is a moving target right now," Curtis commented ruefully. He added that Tennessee's Deputy Commissioner of Education, Robert W. Greene, had told him, "I've lied more than I've ever lied in my 30 year career," referring to the different things Greene had told school systems about stimulus money and budgets in the last few months.

The budget committee set another meeting for 6 p.m. Monday, June 1.